Meet Leah: Jewish International Relations Enthusiast of the Week

by Hannah Angerman / May 25, 2022

Leah, a white woman, smiles in a black top, jean shorts, and sunglasses. She stands on a winding wooden bridge in the middle of some luscious green mountains.Meet Leah! Leah works in international development and loves the simple things in life like peanut butter on toast (yum) and long walks on a nice day. Click the link in bio to find out what. Read the full interview to find out what Leah’s dream job is, her favorite Jewish tradition, and her go-to spots in DC.

Hannah: What brought you to DC? 

Leah: I knew in high school that I wanted to study international affairs. I thought  if I’m going to study international affairs, I have to be in DC. I ended up going to GW and then I stayed because I love DC. It’s my favorite city.

Hannah: Could you describe your dream day in the DMV from start to finish?

Leah: I would start with brunch because I think DC is one of the best cities for brunch. I really like Agora and Ala because they do bottomless food. After brunch I would go to a museum. I love the Hirshhorn and whenever people come to visit me, I usually bring them there. Then I’d have a picnic on the Mall for lunch. Later I would take a walk with my dog, and then do dinner at The Wharf to finish up the day. 

Hannah: What is one thing that you can’t get through the day without?

Leah: Some sort of exercise. Exercising gives me a lot of energy. And now that it’s nice outside I like to go on walks. 

Leah poses in front of a pink wall. She is wearing multicolored jeans and holds one hand at her waist.

Hannah: So you said that you studied International Relations? What do you do for work now?

Leah: I work in international development at the International Republican Institute. It’s a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes democracy, human rights, and governance. Right now I mostly work on projects related to Bangladesh and some related to youth and women’s empowerment. We’re also working on stopping student violence during elections. It’s exactly what I wanted to be doing out of college. I realized I had a really big passion for helping people exercise their rights.

Hannah: What’s your absolute dream job?

Leah: There’s a part of development which involves monitoring and evaluation and using data to assess whether or not our projects are effective. That’s the part of development I really want to work in. My dream job would be the director of a monitoring and evaluation division at an international development organization. 

Hannah: If you could learn one new personal skill this year what would it be?

Leah: This isn’t a new thing but I took Mandarin in college and I’ve lost it significantly because I haven’t used it in almost a year. It would be my dream to learn Mandarin and get really good at speaking it. I think it’s really cool to know foreign languages and I think it would be beneficial to me both professionally and personally. 

Leah stands on a modern bridge holding a cup of coffee and wearing a very puffy coat.

Hannah: Have you picked up any pandemic hobbies?

Leah: Yes! My mom and grandma are both great crafters. When I got sent home from my study abroad in South Africa because of COVID, I ended up learning how to embroider. My mom thought I would really like it and ever since she taught me I’ve really enjoyed embroidery. 

Hannah: How do you connect with your Jewish identity and or the Jewish community?

Leah: I went to a Jewish summer camp for seven years, so I have a large group of friends from camp and we have a lot of traditions together. We stay in touch regularly and I’ve had them come over for various Jewish holidays.

Hannah: Do you have a favorite Jewish tradition?

Leah: I always liked finding the afikoman during Passover [Editor’s Note: the afikoman is a piece of matzah that is broken during the Passover Seder and saved (oftentimes hidden) for the end of the meal]. It’s so fun and feels like a little hunt.

Leah stands in front of a small mountain that is very sandy and covered in low shrubbery.

Hannah: What would you consider your simple pleasures?

Leah: Peanut butter on toast. Chocolate rice crackers. And really nice weather outside.

Hannah: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Leah: My parents always encouraged me to go for whatever I wanted to achieve. Whether that was a job or an academic opportunity I was always encouraged to put my all into trying and have no shame in failing. 

Hannah: Last but not least – Complete this sentence: When the Jews of DC gather…

Leah: You run into someone who knows someone that went to summer camp with you.

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